Thursday, February 18, 2010

trip north: part 1

We had a great two days up North, but I'll leave this post to the animals...

We set off for Mammoth at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday (our Saturday) via the luggage coach. We had a great trip up: we saw 3 (separate) large herds of bison, a few elk, 3 coyotes, and 2 bald eagles.

We woke up bright and early on Wednesday morning and made a beeline for the Lamar Valley. We passed several elk and bison on the way, and just past Slough Creek campground we encountered this guy on the side of the road (note his research collar).

As we followed slowly behind him, he'd zig-zag from the road,

to the shoulder

and back to the middle of the road again. Pretty soon we ran into these three bison on the road,

and he decided it would be fun to chase them.

He chased two off the road, but the third bison turned the tables on him and chased the coyote off into the sagebrush.

Then I made Steve pull over so I could fire off a couple of shots of this bison in the morning light.

About a mile down the road we had another coyote cross the road in front of us,

and as the valley opened up we saw two more coyotes crossing the frozen Lamar River. We stopped at a pull-out and watched two of the Druid wolves feeding on a carcass; as we stood there, the rest of the pack, somewhere in the trees and out of sight, began to howl. This is a sound we'll never tire of hearing.

Near the confluence, there were three bighorns hanging out in their "usual" spot.

We headed east, out the Northeast entrance, and into Silver Gate. We were determined to find a moose for my Uncle Donn, and sure enough, we spotted one. Well, make that three! They were all together, feeding in the trees just off the road. It was snowing heavily at this point, and we were able to watch them from the car for a few moments before they disappeared into the trees. It's amazing how fast they can move in deep snow--in an instant, they were gone.

Coming back through the park, we spotted this bald eagle just off the road, near the Buffalo Ranch.

We saw the Druids again, feeding on a different carcass, just above the Lamar River. Below them, a coyote was feeding on the remains of a carcass that was frozen in the river, which he then had to defend from another passing coyote. Just then, we heard the howls and yips of a pair of coyotes further on down the river. In case you're keeping track, that brought the day's coyote total to 9!

Heading back towards Mammoth we ran into this guy, who had an itch--and a way to fix it.

That's the spot.

What are you looking at?!

We passed a herd of cow elk

and a few bulls as well.

There was also a herd of pronghorn antelope feeding on the plateau near the park boundary/Gardiner.

All in all, a great day to be out.

No comments:

Post a Comment